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Unethical pokie fundraising attracts crime

Unethical pokie fundraising attracts crime

Pokie machines attract too much crime to be a valid form of community fundraising says John Stansfield of the Problem Gambling Foundation.

Last week a barman at Finnigans Irish Bar was violently attacked and robbed. Following the robbery the bar owner said that bars with pokie machines are being robbed every week.

Mr Stansfield says it is ridiculous that an activity that attracts so much crime and causes so much misery is still being used for fundraising.

"Almost every day we see another conviction for pokie related crime," he says.

"Pubs are held up for pokie takings, staff are caught stealing from the machines, people associated with the pokie trusts are caught with their fingers in the till and problem gamblers commit crimes to feed the machines.

"The taxpayer is forking out for lawyers, court costs, ACC payments, police time, the cost of keeping people in prison and supporting families when the bread winner is locked up."

Mr Stansfield says on top of this society is paying dearly for family breakdowns, domestic violence and business failures resulting from problem gambling.

"This all costs far more than the amount returned to the community in funding.

"The biggest crime is allowing this to continue when there are numerous alternatives.

"This is not a complicated issue and it wouldn't be hard to find solutions but the political will to do so is simply not there."

Mr Stansfield says that bar owners need to think about whether having pokies is worth while given the machines harm their customers, impoverish their communities and pose a safety risk to their staff.

ENDS

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